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News

Ollie Robinson set to return in Barbados but Mark Wood 'unlikely' to be risked

Paul Collingwood gives his players "ten out of ten" for effort after hard-fought draw in Antigua

Alan Gardner
Alan Gardner
13-Mar-2022
Ollie Robinson left the field with injury on the third day, CWI President's XI vs England XI, Tour match, Coolidge Cricket Ground, Antigua, March 3, 2022

Ollie Robinson suffered a back spasm during England's warm-up match in Antigua  •  Gareth Copley/Getty Images

England hope to have Ollie Robinson available for the second Test against West Indies and will not be calling up extra bowling cover, despite interim head coach Paul Collingwood admitting that Mark Wood was "unlikely" to play in Barbados after suffering an elbow impingement that limited his involvement to delivering 17 overs in the drawn Antigua Test.
Wood was set to go for scans on the injury after feeling "acute pain" while attempting to bowl in the nets before play on day five at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, but England have not yet ruled him out of further involvement on the tour.
The return of Robinson after a back spasm during the warm-up game would strengthen a seam attack that only managed to take seven wickets in Antigua - three of them by Ben Stokes, the allrounder who was reportedly set to have a managed workload but ended up bowling 41 overs in the match. The absence of Wood will, however, leave England without an out-and-out quick, although the uncapped Saqib Mahmood is capable of touching 90mph.
"[Wood] has not bowled in the second innings here so you would say it is unlikely but you never know," Collingwood told reporters in Antigua. "He recovered really well when he got some tape on there and some anti-inflams but we are going to have to see what the investigation say.
"Ollie is looking pretty positive at the moment. His recovery has been excellent. The backroom staff have done a great job on Ollie and he bowled a couple of spells today and is getting the ball through really well so that is looking really positive. We have Saqqy Mahmood as well and [Matthew] Fisher here, so not [looking for back-up] as yet. We will have to wait and see how Woody is in Barbados."
Collingwood graded the efforts of his players as "ten out of ten on a pitch that was pretty docile and hard to get 20 wickets on", after West Indies batted their way to safety on the final afternoon following an attacking declaration from Joe Root. England set the home side a target of 286 in 71 overs and gave themselves a shot at an unlikely win by reducing them to 67 for 4 shortly after tea. But Nkrumah Bonner, West Indies' first-innings centurion, and Jason Holder batted out 35.4 overs in partnership to secure a draw and keep the series level with two to play.
"The boys are in a good place," Collingwood said. "They want to win Test matches. We knew it was not going to be easy to take 20 wickets on there. We had to give ourselves time. The way we batted this morning, there were a lot of selfless dismissals out there, done for the team. We were trying to score runs quickly.
"We put ourselves in a good position. We lost a bit of time with overs to the rain which did not help. Bonner's innings took a lot of time out of the game and I thought we were very proactive this morning to get ourselves in a position where we could give ourselves a chance. We were probably two wickets away from breaking the back of West Indies' batting. We were very close. Some decisions could have gone either way but overall performance I thought it was a positive week."
And despite the struggles of England's seamers, with Wood invalided out of contention and new attack leader Chris Woakes managing figures of 1 for 110, Antigua did provide the stage for an impressive showing from Jack Leach. It emerged that the left-arm spinner had given the team talk at one stage, as part of efforts to get the players to take more responsibility, and he ended up being England's most-successful bowler, taking 5 for 136 in the match but crucially also keeping things tight during the first innings, when he bowled 43.3 overs with an economy of 1.81.
"I was really impressed with the way he held the game on a wicket that didn't turn off the straight," Collingwood said. "I'm delighted that he's been able to do a holding role for us, that's good signs for the future. Giving them that extra responsibility as a voice and a leader in the dressing-room, he seems to be thriving off that. They're great signs. His accuracy right through the Test was brilliant and he caused problems. That's a great Test match for him."
With Root adding his 24th Test century - and a record 13th as England captain - Collingwood said there were encouraging signs around the team's so-called red-ball reset, despite a nightmare first morning in Antigua where a scoreline of 48 for 4 bore all the hallmarks of recent failures. "I really believe he can turn this team around," he said of Root, who was retained in the role as much because of a lack of alternatives following another chastening Ashes campaign. The next step will involve maintaining an upwards trajectory.
"We've had a good week," Collingwood said. "We've got to build on that. There have been so many good signs but we want to keep that as the benchmark. Our ground-fielding was superb, our energy, our fitness levels, that's a good sign of where a team is. Two hard days in the field, the boys kept plugging away. Great signs but it's 0-0 and we need to turn up in Barbados with the same attitude and character, and desire - all the things that win you Test matches. That performance level, we've given ourselves a good chance."

Alan Gardner is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo. @alanroderick